Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James Bailey


Education reform is the driver for changes in principal leadership practices. Instructional coaching is a common lever used to meet reform mandates but has had inconsistent results. The problem in practice is little is known about how principals use leadership practices to establish effective instructional coaching in their school building. The conceptual framework used in this study was the distributive leadership framework, which was used to analyze how leadership skills are distributed throughout an organization to meet overall goals. In this study, the principals and the instructional coaches were asked to perceive and describe the principal’s leadership practices that influence the implementation of instructional coaching. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 12 participants—four principals and eight instructional coaches working in four different middle schools in a district. The thematic analysis produced five significant categories: (a) transparency, (b) support, (c) leadership style, (d) collaboration, and (e) trust. The findings suggest that principals who were former instructional coaches are more likely to use leadership practices that positively influence the implementation of instructional coaching. The findings have the potential to contribute to professional development to enhance principals’ leadership practices that influence instructional coaching. Potential implications for positive social change may be the requirement that district leaders provide training for principals and instructional coaches to counter inconsistencies in the implementation of coaching to better support the classroom teachers and influence student success and achievement.